It’s quiet, man, like John Wayne in Ireland.
Still a few rumblings and grumblings regarding transfers with Nicklas Bendtner’s agent and father (who is also his mother in a hilarious real life version of Cartman), speaking about how much his son is worth. He says:
One hundred million crowns!
I’m not the only one hearing Doctor Evil, right? He goes on to say:
He has been valued higher before. But of course, if you are on the bench the price goes down. Nicklas has the qualities to live up to this sum and we can certainly find a club that is willing to pay.
Can they though? Can they really find someone to pay £10m for Nicklas Bendtner? I’m not one of those in the ‘Bendtner is a poorly shod pony with balance issues and delusions of grandeur’ group but I have to say my first impression is that it’s a bit unrealistic. Or maybe it is realistic and my idea of what is has been utterly skewed by Arsene Wenger’s recent dealings. He has to retire to his fainting cough every time anyone quotes a price above a few million when he wants to buy a player so maybe I’ve been affected by that.
Let me put it this way: could you see Arsenal spending £10m on a player like Bendtner? I don’t think so. Yet this is a world in which Darren Bent goes for £24m, Andy Carroll for £35m, Suarez for £22m and Asamoah Gyan for £14m, so it’s not at all unreasonable for us to expect £10m for for a young Danish international who, regardless of what you think about him, has a pretty decent goalscoring record to his name.
That’s not to say spending big is a guarantee of quality (at least in terms of performance) – a certain Spaniard at Chelsea being the perfect example – you can find bargains if you want them. United did so with Hernandez (£6m), Sp*rs £8m for van der Vaart was great business and Odemwingie at West Brom was a mere £2.5m, so it is out there if you find the right player.
And we know how much Arsene loves a bargain, it’s just that in recent years the gambles he’s taken on cut price players haven’t exactly paid off. I’m sure I’m not alone in suspecting the signing of Sylvester (£700,000) was brought about by a mild stroke of some kind. We got exactly what we paid for there. Squillaci this season hasn’t exactly worked out and at £3,5m (not the £6m reported ad nauseum by those who want to gild that particular lily, gild it with poo I mean) he wasn’t high on the list of best buys. We spent close to £10m on Koscielny and, funnily enough, he’s been the better player.
Even Chamakh, a free transfer, hasn’t quite convinced despite his decent start to the season. When you consider his wages + signing on fee paid over the duration of his contract (Bosmantacular) I don’t even know if you could call him a bargain.
Anyway, my point is thus, cheaper signings are a gamble, sometimes you can afford to take them and they pay off, but I don’t think the manager is in a position to do that this summer. He’s not operating with a great deal of goodwill at this moment in time and with ticket prices rising, frustration high at the season(s) past and everything else, does he need to review his thinking in terms of the transfer business he does? Is he going to have to bite the bullet and pay what the market requires?
Let me make it clear: I’m not advocating splashing out ridiculous sums on players, I don’t think there’s any way we’re going to sign a £25m player for example, but we can only operate in the market that exists, not a Utopian one that we think should exist. Yes, the money of Chelsea and Man City artificially inflates prices, that’s a fact, but what we can do about it? Do we sit around and complain about how prices are too high and tread water or do we bite the bullet, go out there, and try and do the best business we can? We’ve tried the building a team together thing and unfortunately, as admirable as that was, it hasn’t quite worked. When push came to shove we fell short.
I know it’s just paper talk but if we’re commanding fees of £8m for Denilson and £10m for Bendtner then why wouldn’t clubs who have good players that we might want to buy not look for equivalent fees? The difficulty for the manager is that if he tries to do it ‘on the cheap’ this summer he’s making a rod for his own back should things not work out. If the signings don’t click, if the quality isn’t up to scratch, he’ll be accused of not investing the money properly and it will be hard to defend him against those accusations.
Like it or not part of his work this summer, and next season, is to win back those fans who have lost faith in him and his methods. For the most part that can only be achieved by what happens on the pitch and how the team perform. Win games and fans are happy. However, another part of it is showing the supporters that the club has real ambition and that can be demonstrated by what happens in the transfer market this summer.
If we ship out some of the under-performers and sign some experience and quality then that will also have an effect on the mood and outlook of fans. I’m not suggesting that should be a factor in who he buys and what he spends, his focus should be improving the team, but it’s all connected. He might well find he has to pay more than he would like for certain players but maybe this is the circle of life for a manager who has, more than once, received far more than he should for players he has sold elsewhere.
Speaking of which, I’m told that we’re due to receive some money from Man City due to clauses in the contracts of Adebayor and Toure, which stipulate extra payments to Arsenal should they qualify for the Champions League. Not exactly the fortune we made off Sp*rs for the Rat Faced Chav but still quite funny considering the way their City careers are currently panning out.
And for a more detailed look at Arsenal’s potential transfer pot this summer I point you in the direction of the always excellent Swiss Ramble. It is long and detailed so grab a cuppa and a biscuit and have at it.
I know it’s a bit calm before storm at the moment but I can’t help thinking this is going to be one of the most interesting summers for a long, long time. One way or the other.
Right, that’ll have to do for today. Back tomorrow with more nothing.